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Semaj Brown, Flint’s first poet laureate, will read poetry inspired by art in this month’s Community exhibition at the Flint Institute of Arts. Brown will perform at its opening Jan. 26. In addition to works inspired by the exhibition, Brown will also perform works from her new book, “Bleeding Fire! Tap the Eternal Spring of Regenerative Light.”
Brown is an accomplished author, dramatist, playwright and educator. Two of the pieces Brown was inspired by in the Community exhibition are Renee Stout’s “Marie Laveau” and Whitfield Lovell’s “Epoch.” During her performance, Brown will read a poem inspired by each of them.
After the performance, Brown will take part in a tour of the exhibition along with members of the FIA curatorial staff.
“Community is defined as a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common, especially one practicing common ownership,” says the FIA’s website about the exhibition. “In a museum, community is not simply people living in the same place, but individuals coming to a shared space to enjoy the common ownership of their museum collection. In this spirit, ‘Community’ celebrates works by African-American artists in the Flint Institute of Arts collection.”
This exhibition features works in various mediums by some of the most important artists from the 19th century to present day, exploring themes related to community, including ideas of history and place, identity and representation, and social justice and self-expression. Works by Romare Bearden, Chakaia Booker, Elizabeth Catlett, Jacob Lawrence, Hughie Lee-Smith, Renee Stout, Kara Walker and Yvonne Wells, among many others, are included.
The opening will conclude with Brown doing a book signing. The event is free and open to the public. Brown’s performance will begin at 1:30 p.m. For more information, visit flintarts.org.